Rick Santorum claims to be pro-life. I am extremely pleased that he puts value on the life of the unborn. However, apparently his respect for life does not extend past US borders. In this remarkable video, Santorum hopes we are behind the assassinations of Iranian scientists, says their deaths are wonderful, and says we have even assassinated US citizens. So there is no right to life or right to trial for non-combatant Iranian scientists in a so far peaceful nuclear program in a country we are not yet fighting. This is one reason I cannot support “prolife” politicians. They fail to see that human value knows no borders. Iranian scientists are created in the image of God. They are under the sovereignty of the Iranian government. They are innocent of any crime against the US or anyone else, for that matter. Whether under natural rights, Christian principles, or simply good foreign policy, this is irresponsible rhetoric.
Tag Archives: War
Ron Paul’s foreign policy is the sticking point for many conservatives. They believe that he is “not strong on national defense.” They claim that he “blames America,” and would let Iran bomb us. The truth is that his foreign policy is both rational and consistent, as this video explains.
The newest trend on libertarian websites is to invent names for evangelicals who join forces with the “hawks” in our government. Some have thrown out terms like warvangelicals, or relligerents (religion and belligerents). Name-calling is never the answer to our problems, but Christians should always be concerned with how the world sees us. It will hate us for following Christ, but at the same time should be profoundly affected by our godly lives. However, the derision that many have for conservative evangelicals comes not from their association with Christ, but from their association with war. Conservative evangelicals have had two main approaches in dealing with war. One is enthusiastic endorsement. An example of this is Jerry Falwell’s statement that God is pro-war. Others have passively supported the wars without the thinking about the ramifications for the gospel. I am not criticizing anyone who supports any specific war. However, I do want to encourage people to carefully consider the ramifications for the Christian, and only support a war after careful and skeptical consideration.
I would like to highlight two reasons why Christians should take care when supporting or engaging in military conflict. The first is Jesus command to seek peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
This does not mean that force can never be used, or that all wars are evil. It does mean that Christians should seek peace first. God is not pro-war. In the past, he has used war to punish evil men, but that was only at his express command and authority. We are not the nation of Israel. We are a spiritual nation and our weapons are not physical. The Christian must consider wars with suspicion, realizing that God has called us to peace, and also realizing than men are evil and often go to war for unjust reasons.
The second reasons Christians should be very serious when contemplating war has to do with Jesus’ final command to his disciples. Perhaps the most important mission for Christians is to bring the gospel to the unbeliever.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
The gospel is the Christian’s number one priority. War presents the Christian with a tremendous difficulty. Christianity teaches that there are two types of people in the world. Those who have accepted the gospel and those who are still in unbelief. War is about killing. There is no way around it. A Christian involved in a war is doing one or both of two very solemn things. Either the Christian is killing a fellow Christian, or an unbeliever for whom Christ died and to whom he is to bring the gospel.
If the Christian kills a fellow Christian he is going against some serious commands in Scripture and seriously compromising the testimony of the church in the world.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
Christians were not even supposed to have lawsuits against one another.
I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 1 Corinthians 6:5-7
On the other hand, if a Christian kills a non-Christian, he is sending him to face God’s judgment without telling him the gospel. How can a Christian carry out the Great Commission in Afghanistan.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:12
Either way, a Christian involved in war is taking a very serious action that has an effect on the gospel. This does not mean that a Christian can never participate in war, just that it should never be taken lightly, and that the Christian must weigh the justification of the war against the effect on the gospel.
The church must commit itself never to blindly follow anyone or anything except Jesus Christ. When the church becomes affiliated with war in people’s minds, whether justly or unjustly, this is a very serious matter. The church must seek peace and the communication of the gospel of first.
Politics is always a game of words and names. By calling something it is not, or by giving something a more favorable name, you can change public opinion. In George Orwell’s 1984, war was carried on by the Ministry of Peace. Could it be that in America we have chosen to portray our military in an unrealistic way? There are many reasons for changing the name of the Department of Defense. Until after World War II, the name was the War Department. When the branches of the military were reorganized and united, a new name was given. I have little doubt that this change had political motivation. It is time for a change to reflect the truth about war.
First, a name change would remind people that our military is not concerned only with defense. Our military over the last 40 years has been involved in numerous wars that do not appear to defend our people. At best, they are preventative wars, making the US safe by killing them before they kill us. Whether or not you agree with these wars, they are not purely defensive actions, and some have crossed the line into “offense.”
Second, it would remind our people of the importance of calling war “war.” Despite the best efforts of the last two administrations to get around it, the constitution requires a declaration of war. Whether Congress delegates their rightful authority to the President (Bush), or whether the President calls his war a “kinetic action,” and does not go to the Congress for a vote (Obama), the American people are deceived and do not see what is truly going on. (Or are not deceived and grow angry with this attempt at deception.)
Third, this terminology does not convey the horrors of war. The name conjures up Braveheart-like images of valiant men heroically defending their homes and family against the forces of pure evil. Oftentimes, war is more complicated than that. Sometimes the opposing troops individually are not evil, but just had the misfortune of fighting for a government that does not get along well with the United States. Whether justified or not, there is a reason this experience is called “the horrors of war.” Simply calling it “defense” glorifies violence and does not recognize the true character of war. Our troops come home with stress disorders. They have had to deal with the stresses of constant danger and the difficulties of killing others. Dealing with the danger and violence can leave them scarred for years.
We owe it to them, and to future generations of Americans, to identify war for what it really is, the horrible last resort of a country when attacked by another.